Are you a busy working or stay-at-home parent who literally has zero time to do anything for yourself? Believe it or not, you can benefit from micro workouts of just 10 minutes—if you perform the right kind of routine. The American Heart Association recommends 30-minute workouts at least five days each week for optimal heart health, but says that dividing your daily exercise into multiple, shorter routines will also help you challenge you enough to provide health benefits. Check out these seven quick workout options for when you’re pressed for time but still want to burn some calories.
Basic Workout Format
Don’t start a 10-minute workout at full speed to try and make every minute high-intensity. Warm up with moderately vigorous movements for the first minute, using exercises like butt kicks, squats, jumping jacks or jogging in place. This will help get blood flowing to your muscles as you gently stretch and warm them, and let your heart and lungs gradually increase their pace. Don’t stop on a dime when you’re done. Take the last minute of your workout to walk it off. Your metabolism will still be burning extra calories, but you’ll help your heart and lungs gradually begin to slow down and get back to normal. Ready to get started? Off you go!
If you’ve got access to a set of stairs, you can burn calories, challenge your cardiorespiratory system and work your muscles. Walking up stairs engages your calves to push you up the stairs. Your quads brake you on the way down. Move up stairs briskly or two at a time to get your heart beating. Walk down at a more moderate pace to recover, depending on how many flights you have. This will create a nice interval workout.
2. Shake Your Booty
When you’re alone and have access to some music, dance for 10 minutes. It’s a full-body workout that’s as fun as it is physical. Raise your arms, move your torso from side to side, bend down and spring up and add your favorite moves to your favorite tunes.
3. Resistance Bands
Resistance band workouts are some of the best you can do because they combine cardio, strength training and flexibility. Bands are inexpensive and you can carry them with you to work, use them at home or work out in a hotel room. Create a 10-minute circuit-training workout by alternating upper-body and lower-body exercises. After a quick warmup, perform 60 seconds of biceps curls. Next, do one minute of squats. Work your triceps with rows, kickbacks or tricep extensions. Challenge your thighs by moving them sideways against resistance. Sculpt your shoulders with arm raises. You can even work your core if you can sit on the ground and perform resisted crunches or V-ups. Here’s a 10-minute resistance band workout you can use for inspiration.
4. Mini Boot Camp
If you don’t have exercise equipment, don’t worry—your body is one of the best workout tools you can use. Using bodyweight exercises, you can create a 10-minute circuit-training workout using the following exercises:
- Jumping jacks
- Butt kicks
- Bench (or couch) dips
- Squat jumps
- Reverse crunches
- Leg lifts
- Mountain climbers
You can choose the exercises with the least resistance (e.g., butt kicks and jumping jacks) for a cardio workout, or do exercises like crunches and burpees to add more resistance for body sculpting. Check out this extensive library of bodyweight exercises, complete with video demonstrations.
5. Ride and Watch
Got an exercise bike? Use it to catch up on the news, watch a talk show or check out some sports for 10 minutes. If you’ve got a road bike, invest in a low-cost bike stand (about $10) that lets you turn your outdoor cycle into an indoor workout machine. Pedal while sitting, then stand on the pedals to work different muscles. Change the gears to create high-intensity sprints or muscle-building hill climbs.
6. Quick Sweat Lifting Session: 10-Minute Butt and Thigh Workout
Fitness Blender is a website that offers lots of video workouts. This 10-minute exercise routine focuses on the lower body, helping you sculpt your butt and thighs, using your core and lower leg muscles to lift and lower dumbbell weight. You can use lighter or heavier weights depending on whether your goal is body sculpting or cardio.
7. Kettlebell Swinging
A kettlebell looks like a bowling ball with a handle on it. The handle creates instability, requiring you to use core muscles to stabilize yourself on almost every move. You can use a kettlebell to perform many of the same exercises you can do with dumbbells or resistance bands, but by swinging the kettlebell, you’ll get a really great, full-body workout. This workout consists of swinging the weight up and down, starting the kettlebell from a position between your feet on the floor and swinging it upward toward the ceiling. You will get a combination of cardio plus full-body strength-training and body-sculpting workout with kettlebell swinging.
If you don’t have a kettlebell, you can fill an empty milk carton (a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds). Try kettlebell swinging slowly at first to make sure you don’t strain your back. Here’s a video that explains how to do entry-level kettlebell swinging, plus a 10-minute circuit-training kettlebell workout.